Clutch Cargo, who debuted on March 9, 1959, and is remembered for exploring depth of meaning in the phrase "limited animation". Even in an era of low production values, he stood out from the crowd. The animation, if you're generous enough to call it that, was so limited, that for many, the amazing spectacle of it seems to have blotted out every other aspect of the show. Quite a few young viewers watched it less for whatever thrills it may have offered, than so they could get together with their friends the next day and ridicule it.
Cambria Productions, which produced Clutch, had some clever ways of getting around the lack of budget for making the characters move. If an explosion rocked the scene, they'd shake the camera. If there was a fire, they'd blow real smoke across the drawing. Best-remembered of all is the technique they used to simulate lip movement â they'd film real lips speaking the lines, then superimpose them on the drawings using a process called Synchro-Vox. This was a patented technique invented by cameraman Edwin Gillette (possibly inspired by Tex Avery's Speaking of Animals, where animated lips were added to live-action creatures), and is still in use, most notably in Conan O'Brien's late-night TV show and the opening of Spongebob Squarepants.
February 19, 2011 Subject:
I counted an average of ten frames per episode. The real superimposed mouths do blend well with the characters, but... I don't know, it's late and I think I might be imagining this whole thing. Goodnight.